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Estate Planning

Estate Planning is the process of determining how your wealth and assets should be transferred to the heirs of your choice: your children, grandchildren, friends, families, charitable causes, etc. and then deciding which legal tools and structures to use to best meet your estate planning goals.

Estate planning is not simply reducing or eliminating taxes and avoiding probate.  Only after establishing how you want your estate’s assets to be distributed should you consider ways to reduce taxes and avoid probate. From there, good estate plans deal with a host of other issues. Now, with all but a few estates exempt from the federal estate tax, those other issues are, or should be, at the forefront of estate planning.

An estate plan is to ensure that you are taken care of the rest of your life and that your wealth is transferred to the people you want to have it. A good estate plan ensures these goals are accomplished with as much efficiency and as little cost as possible. An estate plan addresses the management and distribution of an individual’s property and financial obligations after he or she dies with financial tools such as wills, revocable living trusts and power of attorney.

For a comprehensive overview of Estate Planning, please start with our article:

 

Found 733 Articles.
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estate planning

Estate Planning Strategies for Heirs and Inherited IRAs

July 1, 2002

IRAs are the most valuable assets in many estates, often exceeding the value of the family homes. Despite this, IRAs often don’t get the attention in estate planning that they should. Estate planning for IRAs requires more work and consideration than for most other assets. First, the IRA has to be fully integrated into your […]

estate plan

Durable Power Estate Planning Essentials

July 1, 2002

Consider which specific powers to give, including making tax-free gifts for Estate Planning. Be sure you have documents that all your financial institutions will accept. Consider keeping all copies with your attorney until needed. Name at least one alternate attorney-in-fact. Review and update the documents every few years. […]

estate planning

Two Estate Planning Documents You Must Have

July 1, 2002

An estate plan might contain many documents. Estate plans that fail, however, often do so because of two key and often overlooked documents. Take care that these documents are in your estate plan and meet your needs. The first document to consider is the durable power of attorney. Most of us won’t ever use this document, […]

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Estate Planning Strategies to Make Your IRA Last Longer

June 1, 2002

Note: This article is an update of the article in the September 2001 Estate Watch and should be read together. Click here. You now can make your IRA last longer than ever. Thanks to final IRS regulations, account owners over age 70 1/2 are required to take less out of their IRAs or other qualified […]

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How To Use Safe Deposit Boxes for Estate Planning?

June 1, 2002

Safe deposit boxes are among the most misunderstood and improperly used tools in Estate Planning. The ways many people use safe deposit boxes can cause more problems than they solve. A safe deposit box usually is not the place you want to keep a will or other valuable documents, especially those that are necessary to […]

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Pros and Cons of Joint Ownership of Assets for Estate Planning

May 1, 2002

Joint title is perhaps the most common form of Estate Planning. Lawyers often call it a “will substitute” and “the poor man’s will.” Unfortunately, joint title is not the best option for many people. In fact, it can be a bad option. Joint title can add risk and also can increase taxes on capital gains, […]

estate planning

Low-Cost Estate Planning Ways To Get Your Grandkids Started

May 1, 2002

Mutual funds and brokers are making it more difficult to put your grandchildren on the road to wealth with a modest initial investment and small regular additions. Fortunately, there still are ways to build a modest sum into a meaningful legacy. Suppose you open an investment account with $1,000, add $50 each month for 10 […]

estate planning

When You Need Solomon’s Wisdom for Estate Planning -The Personal Items

April 1, 2002

Small items often cause the biggest Estate Planning problems. Any one with some experience handling estates knows the worst disputes among heirs often are over what seem like trivial items. In a large estate, heirs might aggressively contest the disposition of a few pieces of furniture or personal mementos. Those small, personal items are most […]

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